Adelani Adepegba and Friday Olokor
A senior official of the Federal Ministry of Health, Martins Ugwu, who has been practising as a ‘medical doctor’ for over nine years, has been arrested by the police upon discovery that he stole the licence from his friend.
Ugwu, who is a Senior Medical Officer II on Grade Level 13, was found to have impersonated his friend, Dr. George Daniel, who is undergoing a residency training programme in Jos, Plateau State.
He allegedly stole the licence from his friend for whom he was best man during a wedding in 2006. They both hail from Orukpa in the Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Ugwu, who was due to be promoted to an Assistant Director in the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Health, has been working in the civil service since 2006 under the name, Dr. George Davidson Daniel, until he was indicted by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria as an impostor.
Ugwu who was arrested by the police last Thursday, was, however, released a few hours later, fueling speculations that the policemen might have been compromised.
Ugwu’s arrest was sequel to an investigation by the MDCN, which registers all Nigerian doctors and regulates their practice after investigations, the MDCN uncovered two Dr. Daniels- the same name on two separate identity photographs.
The MDCN in a letter to the Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, dated June 4, 2015, signed by the Registrar, Dr. A. Ibrahim, described Ugwu as an impostor, adding that the case had been reported to the police for further investigation and action.
It reads, “Records available to the council revealed that this “Dr.” Davidson Daniel George is an impostor as he is impersonating another Dr. Davidson Daniel who is the genuine doctor and he currently undertakes his residency training in Jos, Plateau State.
“The council summoned and interacted with the genuine doctor who gave some vital information on the impostor. The council has reported the matter to the law enforcement agency as a case of impersonation; with the genuine doctor deposing to a statement with regard to what happened between him and the fake doctor whose real name is Mr. Martins Ugwu.
“As it is, Mr. Martins Ugwu is an impostor. You may therefore wish to take further actions to deal with this matter in accordance with the provisions of the law.”
The MDCN said it was dissatisfied with the manner with which the police handled Ugwu’s case and promised to take up the matter with the Inspector-General of Police.
The council cited a previous arrest of a fake doctor arraigned for prosecution, insisting that the prosecuting police officers had never called the council’s investigators to court as witnesses while the case stalled in court.
The council said it was investigating and prosecuting about 40 cases of quacks in courts.
Ironically, Ugwu was part of a government committee that met more than 200 contingents returning from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea where they had volunteered to help fight Ebola under an African Union mission, last week in Abuja.
The Head of Inspectorate Department, MDCN, Dr. Henry Okwuokenye, who led the team of investigators, confirmed Ugwu’s arrest to one of our correspondents on Sunday in Abuja.
He said, “When we looked at our archives, we discovered there was actually somebody that bears the name, Dr. George Daniel, but the picture is not the same as the one that was sent to us. The Daniel under investigation had a photocopy of a practice licence and a provisional licence- the first temporary documentation for new doctors valid for only two years- but the unique folio number matched a real Dr. Daniel on MDCN files.”
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Linus Awute, fingered Ugwu as the head of a gang “scandalising and intimidating heads of agencies under the ministry and extorting money from them.”
He explained that the impostor had been handed over to the police, noting that the process of his sacking from the civil service had commenced. She said all the monies he had received as salaries would be recovered.
Awute said, “We are making efforts to get the other members of his (Ugwu’s) gang. He has been on the payroll of the government all these years but nemesis has caught up with him. He is the leader of a gang that has been operating in the ministry, intimidating and extorting money from heads of agencies under the ministry. They have approached me to negotiate in the belief that money has come to the ministry to be shared.”
When contacted, the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, Anjuguri Manzah, said the police were investigating the matter.
“The matter is under investigation, though the suspect has been released on bail for now,” he stated.
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